American people continue to be accepting of torture. :angrily: Gee, thanks, antiwar movement!

Darn right I’m blaming those idiots for this: “The [HuffPo/YouGov] poll showed that 68 percent think there are some circumstances when the government is justified in using torture, including 16 percent who think it’s always justified, 33 percent who think it’s sometimes justified, and 19 percent who think it’s rarely justified. Only 22 percent of Americans think torture is never justified.” Poll here: and via Hot Air. Allahpundit at that last link is glumly surprised that a consensus persists that there’s a time and a place for torture.

I am not. Me, in 2009:

…the antiwar movement has spent the last five or six years attempting to equate waterboarding to torture.  They even more or less succeeded – but then they made a classic mistake: they assumed that stigmatization would inevitably follow.  Their thinking presumably was that if you can define X as Y, and Y is bad, then it becomes inconceivable that people could possibly support X.

Apparently, what happened instead was that they got the American people to define X as Y… and then the American people decided that perhaps this meant that Y wasn’t so bad after all.

And again, in 2011:

…the fault lies in the antiwar movement itself, which relentlessly pushed the narrative that waterboarding was semantically equivalent to wiring people up to car batteries, while never considering that people might end up agreeing – and thus concluding that wiring other people up to car batteries might not be such a horrid thing after all.

It turns out that there are rather drastic limits to what you can do with ‘branding.’ But you can always use it to make things worse, which is something that I would define our current situation as being. And the antiwar movement has nobody to blame but themselves, here: they should have realized that most people would sign off on unpleasant things being done to bad people if it meant that less good people would be blown up… no matter how loaded the terms were. And if you include things like ‘waterboarding’ in the subgroup ‘torture,’ you run a terrible risk of making people think that ‘torture’ maybe isn’t so bad, then.

And let’s not even discuss increased drone strikes – except, yeah, that’s the antiwar movement’s fault, too. It’s like those people never walk through the implications of their positions…

Moe Lane

4 thoughts on “American people continue to be accepting of torture. :angrily: Gee, thanks, antiwar movement!”

  1. I am against torture but, for me, a sine qua non of torture is that it leaves marks, physical scars and often non-functioning extremities. Water boarding is based on fear but leaves one physically whole.

  2. Oh, I’m quite certain, Moe, that some smart folks did think this through… Just not *most* of the line-level Lefties….
    The classical phrase is “useful idiot”, eh?

  3. I remember being declared a horrible person for making this argument.
    I also was horrible for stating that conditions people in the military endure as training do not qualify as torture. Of course. And it evidently somehow isn’t torture when it happens to American servicemen, because they knew it could happen to them when they enlisted. (The obvious counterargument about what terrorist volunteers could legitimately expect, also made me a horrible person.)
    Of course, I freely admit that I wouldn’t lose any sleep if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was broken as thoroughly as Rudolph Hess.

    1. I actually wrote an essay describing torture that I witnessed (Torture being defined as “what the left thinks it is) and pointed out that everything was stuff I had dealt with in Boot Camp.
      Why yes, I started a rather inflammatory argument.

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